Donald E. Rich, 97, of Milan, NH passed away on Thursday, January 7, 2021 at the Country Village Center in Lancaster. He was born in Berlin, NH on February 19, 1923, the son of the late Horace M. and Ida M. (Wambolt) Rich, and lived most of his life in Milan. Donald was a World War II Veteran, having served with the 623rd Engineers of the US Army, working as a crane operator. He was attached to General Patton’s 3rd Army, building bridges and repairing roads for Patton’s tank advance into Germany. He landed in Normandy on D Day 5. He was extremely proud of his military service and earned a Bronze Star for building a bridge over the river Sarr while under daily shell fire from a German 88.
He was a crane operator for R.G. Watkins & Son in Amesbury, MA. He also worked for B.I.M. in Berlin, Gorham Sand & Gravel, N.Y.A., and C.C.C.’s. Most recently, Donald was self employed in the construction business, and worked loading wood in the winter months in the woods. He was a longtime member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He worked his way through the local lodge, and later became Grand Master of the State of New Hampshire. He served on the Town of Milan Planning Board, was a Selectman and Cemetery Trustee.
Donald is survived by his daughter Susan Blais & husband Paul of Milan, NH; son Alan Rich & wife Betty of Lunenburg, VT; 7 grandchildren, Shane Blais and wife Carrie of Virginia, Ernie Blais and wife Jessica of Berlin, Randy Blais and wife Katrina of Milan, Jennifer Williams and husband Shawn of Gorham, Wendy Brundle and husband Andy of Jefferson, Lori Rich of Gilman, Vermont and Chris Rich of Lunenburg, Vt. .; 16 great-grandchildren, and several great-great grandchildren, including Ensleigh, born within 24 hours of Donald’s death; a sister Joyce M. Gillespie of Gorham, NH; brother Roger Chadbourne and wife Shirley of Lynn, MA; as well as several nieces, nephews, and cousins. He was predeceased by his wife of over 70 years Lily E. (Briggs) Rich; a son Brian Rich; and brother Lester Chadbourne.
A Memorial Service will be held in the Spring at the Milan Community United Methodist Church, followed by Interment and Military Honors in Hillcrest Cemetery. Donations in his memory may be made to the Milan Community United Methodist Church, PO BOX 122, Milan, NH 03588, Country Village Center Activities Fund, 91 Country Village Road, Lancaster, NH, 03584, or the charity of your choice. Arrangements have been entrusted to the Bryant Funeral Homes, Berlin and Gorham, NH. To share memories and condolences online, please visit www.bryantfuneralhome.net.